Sometimes, coming up with three or five of anything, like favorite songs, makes training participants focus their attention on winnowing down their longer lists. If you’re a classic movie buff, for example, how can you name five favorites? This ten favorites ice breaker gives you an option when you want your training session participants to concentrate on warming up the conversation with fellow participants instead.
This ten favorites training ice breaker makes conversation easy as your group prepares to tackle the more challenging exercises in your training class. Team building and cooperation are a natural extension of the discussion and sharing when you use this the ten favorites training ice breaker.
Ten Favorites Training Ice Breaker Steps
- Divide the meeting participants into groups of four or five people by having them number off. (You do this because people generally begin a meeting by sitting with the people they already know best.)
- Tell the newly formed groups that their assignment is to share their ten favorite foods, or their ten favorite actors or actresses, or their ten favorite animals, flowers, trees, and so forth. The topic can be ten of anything - most liked. The key with the ten favorites training ice breaker is that the participants must easily think of ten; in fact fewer than ten might cause too much analysis and too many choices for a quick, get-to-know each other ice breaker.
- Tell the groups that one person must take notes and be ready to share the highlights of their group discussion with the whole group upon completion of the assignment.
- Debrief the training ice breaker by asking the volunteer note taker to share any insights or points of interest that arose in their discussion. Did the group have commonalities in their answers? Where might group members use this or a similar ice breaker in their own lives?
Since this is a warm-up ice breaker, depending on the group, and because of the time it adds, I generally do not ask each person to share their whole list with the larger group. I do open the topic for general discussion as the note takers report because people are always your best source for laughter and fun.
- When the volunteer from each group is finished, ask the rest of the participants if they have anything they'd like to add to the discussion or ask before moving on with the rest of the session.
While I generally recommend ice breakers that are related to the topic of the meeting, "ten favorites" is a quick, fun training ice breaker that people really enjoy. No one is asked to leave their conversational comfort zone and I have never found a participant unwilling to share the answers to this type of question.
This training icebreaker takes 15-20 minutes, depending on the number of groups that need to report their discussion.
Additional Use of Ten Favorites Ice Breaker Format
You can also use this ice breaker for topical discussion or as an exercise during a team building session. As an example, in a session on training, you might ask, "What are ten dysfunctional behaviors you have experienced when participating on an unsuccessful team?" Or, "Think about the best team you have ever been on. What are ten key factors that made it your best or most successful team?"